Ann Winterton's Medical Treatment (Prevention of Euthanasia) Bill ran out of time for debate and will not now become law. The bill would have prevented doctors withholding nutrition and hydration in cases where patients are not dying - like that of the Hillsborough disaster victim Tony Bland, who spent years in a persistent vegetative state. It would also have meant the end of advance directives. The government should now legislate, as promised, to reform the law on decision-making for mentally incapacitated adults. But the Winterton bill, which garnered substantial support among MPs, may have made it even more reluctant to grasp this spiky nettle.